Anna’s story started when she was a whopping 20 months old. Her mom took her to her pediatrician because she was walking wobbly and limping. She was crying a lot and wanted to be held all the time, which was not at all like Anna. The doctor did some lab tests, but everything came back normal. Anna’s mom knew that she had to be Anna’s voice and advocate, knowing that something was not right. She made another appointment and her second lab results confirmed that she had an autoimmune disease- juvenile arthritis. At the time, the Plake’s were living in Iowa and went to doctors and nurses at the University of Iowa. They discovered that Anna’s arthritis was worse than they had originally thought. She had disease involvement in both of her knees and ankles. She had to wear splints on both of her legs at night due to limited range of motion in both knees. Along with the splints, she had to take daily medications that she did not like because of the taste. However, none of this stopped Anna! She acted as any toddler would’ve- climbing, running, jumping, even walking while wearing her splints.
The worst part for Anna came when she had to start getting regular blood drawn due to the long term use of the medication. She used to hide when it came time for blood draws, but now her anxiety about them has decreased and her knowledge about the disease has increased. Upon moving to Indiana, the Plake’s were worried about Anna’s care. However, all their worries ceased once they found Riley Hospital and Dr. Bowyer. Anna loves Dr. Bowyer and her staff! She even considers going to the doctor a treat!
Anna is now a thriving ten-year-old girl. She eventually developed arthritis in her wrists and finger. She sometimes has troubles pushing buttons, opening doors, and dressing herself, and it sometimes takes her a little longer to physical accomplish things. But none of that has slowed her down! Anna attends Battle Ground Elementary in Lafayette, and loves her friends and teachers there! She swims on a club swim team that has made a huge difference in her functioning and confidence! Anna loves life and approaches each day with joy! She has not let arthritis stop her from doing what she wants. Instead, it has become a part of her because she does not remember a time when she did not have this disease. Anna is super excited to be a part of her second Purdue Dance Marathon!